The trio of Mountaineer stars took center stage at last Thursday's WVU Pro Day for one last public appearance before April's NFL Draft. Geno Smith and Tavon Austin had impressive performances and may have solidified their place in the first round. The last member of the offensive trio, Stedman Bailey, did not disappoint with his outing either.
While Smith and Austin have been getting most of the love from many national media outlets, Bailey has quietly been doing what he did for most of his Mountaineer career, flying under the radar. He finished his WVU career with 210 receptions, 3,218 receiving yards and 41 receiving touchdowns. His 25 touchdowns caught in 2012 are the third most all-time, only behind Troy Edward's 27 for Louisiana Tech in 1998 and Randy Moss' 26 for Marshall in 1997.
At the NFL Combine in February, Bailey impressed the scouts and many thought he was the second most impressive receiver there, only behind his teammate Tavon Austin. He had a 34.5 inch vertical leap and made it 117 inches in the broad jump.
In the 40-yard dash, Bailey ran an official 4.52 seconds, 22nd among wide receivers in attendance. He decided to run the 40 again at WVU's pro day to get a better time.
"I just wanted to drop my time to at least the 4.4's just to get a better time for myself personally," Bailey said.
"A couple of (scouts) said it wasn't bad, but for me personally I wanted to run faster so that was my whole thing. There was a lot of guys at the combine who did hit in the 4.5 range so it didn't make me feel bad or anything, but I just personally wanted to run faster."
Bailey ended up posting 4.62 and 4.66 during his respective 40-yard dashes.
During receiving drills, Bailey caught every pass but one that was thrown to him from former high school and college teammate Geno Smith.
"I've been catching balls from Geno all my life," Bailey said. "Just to be back here in Morgantown and with all the guys that were there was a very good feeling. I was able to look around and just be calm because I'm here with my boys."
Many other players worked out at WVU's pro day who may not get a shot at the NFL, but are trying to showcase what they can in front of scouts in hopes a team will take a chance. While Bailey is not one of them, he was out there being supportive of his former teammates.
"I'm sure it gives those guys a big confidence boost with guys like (Bailey, Austin and Smith) rooting them on and just cheering for them," Bailey said. "I'm hoping the best for them because they're a bunch of great guys and I wish the best for all of them. I hope everybody can get a shot at ‘The League' but unfortunately it doesn't work out like that all the time, but they're my brothers and I hope the best for them all and wish them all luck."
Bailey is projected to be a 2nd-3rd round pick in April's draft, while his fellow Mountaineer receiver Tavon Austin is rocketing up many draft boards and many have Austin going mid-1st round. There does not seem to be an ounce of jealousy from Bailey towards Austin.
"Going into the combine, me and Tavon were right after each other," Bailey said. "He was the #2 wideout and I was the #3 and I felt that was pretty cool. We got a chance to interact with each other about every day to help motivate each other and just go out and have fun. With all of the recognition he was getting, I was very happy for him and I felt like he deserved it."
Both Bailey and Austin had a private workout Friday in Morgantown with the Carolina Panthers and their wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl.
Bailey, Austin and Smith all came to Morgantown in 2009 as part of the same recruiting class, and Bailey is ending his WVU career with the same guys he started it with.
"Just being back in the building with those guys, catching balls, running routes, doing what we do was an overall good feeling," Bailey said. "If that is our last time working together, it's been a great time with those guys."
The 2013 NFL Draft is April 25-27 and will be aired on both ESPN and The NFL Network.